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Haiti on our Minds

Haiti feels the earthquake's aftershock, both literally and figuratively, and the citizens of the world come together in sorrow and hope. 

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Not Waiting for the Ball to Drop: Perennial Resolute Lawyers

Stories of Lawyers from the Online Lawyer Community Resolved to Make a Change

It’s that time again: the fridge is clear of holiday leftovers, the gym is packed, diet commercials abound, resolutions have been made. A few may even already be, well, not broken exactly. Let’s just say chipped. Yes, merely a chip. As in chocolate.

It is the beginning of a new year, of a new decade, even. It is time to start afresh, to take the opportunity to improve ourselves, our families, our homes, our work, and our communities. After all, our communities are extensions of ourselves, our families, our homes, and --- particularly for lawyers --- our work. As I take this time to make the changes that I want to see in myself and the world around me, there are some people to whom I can look for inspiration. Here are just a few whom I have gotten to know in the past few months.

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Forth they went together

Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing

The popular carol Good King Wenceslas tells us of a king who travels through a storm to share his bounty with a peasant during Christmastide. Though the king's page struggles against the severe storm, he is enabled to continue their journey by walking in the king's footprints in the snow.

Meet Bill Schmidt, a modern day leader of giving, creating a path toward good works and leaving footprints on peoples' hearts.

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It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It

It's easy to get stuck in the trap of focusing on media instead of message. A variety of communication avenues is worth the commitment it takes to learn to use new new tools as well as the tried-and-true, as long as you keep it all about the content.

For the past three months, I have been working on my presidential mission, the Virginia is for Good Lawyers project, which includes The Big Picture, a video project, and Reflections, a series of essays written by and about Virginia lawyers. My entire multi-faceted project is about the message, not about how we spread it, but we continue to look for ways in which we can spread our message, through means both technological, like social media, and basic, like face-to-face meetings and speaking engagements.

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Putting it in writing

Lawyers reflect on their profession, their communities, their passions, and much more in our essay project.

As lawyers, we know the importance of "putting it in writing." The act of writing does more for a subject than giving it legal implications, however. When we choose to identify a subject, give it importance, really consider it, form tangible thoughts about it, and, finally, edit those thoughts in anticipation of others' reading it, it gives shape to our abstract thoughts and importance to our choices. The act of communicating our thought for others solidifies them for us, and it can be a transformative process, as those who write briefs, pleadings, and motions well know.

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Learning from each other

The annual meeting of the American Bar Association is a chance to meet other bar leaders to swap knowledge and ideas.

One of the great benefits of the ABA annual meeting is the opportunity to meet and renew acquaintances with the leaders of the various other state bar associations across the country.

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Keys to the Kingdom

Members of the Virginia State Bar have unique opportunities to help our communities and its citizenry.

I am continually impressed with the level of community commitment of lawyers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. During my tenure as President, I will be sharing with you — through our video project, The Big Picture, and through a series of essays written by and about Virginia lawyers called Reflections — the stories of some of Virginia's brightest citizen lawyers. I look forward to hearing from you. Please contact us at

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